Thomas Ravelli sings Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s praises
Swedish goalkeeping legend Thomas Ravelli says Zlatan Ibrahimovic now has the mentality to go with his talent
Zlatan Ibrahimovic now has the mentality to go with his talent, insists Swedish goalkeeping legend Thomas Ravelli.
The 53-year-old watched the former Barcelona man Ibrahimovic’s four-goal masterclass against England at the opening of the Friends Arena last week.
Ravelli – capped 143 times by the Blågult – believes the striker’s excellent form is down to an improved mental approach and becoming a team man.
“Zlatan is in unbelievably good shape and at the peak of his performance now. At 31, he has the experience but mentally he is also in balance,” said Ravelli.
“He is one of the best players in the world and I think in these last six months he has been developing not only as a player but also as a human being.
“His game now involves his teammates more, while his weakness before was that maybe he was playing a little bit too much for himself.”
Ravelli admitted there was more of a touch of magic to Ibrahimovic’s overhead kick – but felt it was his best goal on the night.
He said: “My first thought when he was backing away from Joe Hart was that something like that could happen because the goal was open.
“But it takes an artist to make this – it is a very tough and hard thing to do even though it looks easy for us watching on TV.
“I think his second goal, his volley from Anders Svensson’s pass, was even nicer and prettier but the overhead kick was so spectacular.
“Still, it’s a goal that out of 100 chances maybe one would succeed so there’s some luck to it – you must not think about it.”
Ibrahimovic moved from AC Milan to cash-rich Paris Saint-Germain in the summer, where he has raced to 10 goals in 10 league games so far.
Although Ligue 1 is not considered one of Europe’s strongest leagues, Ravelli feels Ibrahimovic will benefit from leading an exciting new project.
“The French league is not as good as the Italian and the Spanish league but I don’t know so much about it,” he said.
“But I think it’s good for him to learn another language, another culture and so on and he can take more responsibility over the team as their biggest star.”
While Ibrahimovic is earning millions plying his trade abroad, Ravelli stayed in his home land bar one season in America with Tampa Bay Mutiny.
But, in a career which saw him collect nine league titles and a Swedish Cup to add to a third-placed finish at the 1994 World Cup, the goalkeeper has no regrets.
“If you go abroad it may be for a lot of things, but the main part is money,” said Ravelli.
“I got some offers from Turkey, Portugal and some English clubs also but in Gothenburg we had a great team, playing in the Champions League and meeting Bayern Munich in the quarter-final.
“But you can’t look back at that, that’s the way it was and I had a great career.”◀ The Sport Review homepageNext story ►
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